Comair Crash Survivor Sues Plenty of Parties
James Polehinke, copilot and sole survivor of last year’s crash of Comair Flight 5191 on takeoff from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Ky., filed a lawsuit last Friday against the U.S. government, the airport board, construction firm Tetra Tech, Jeppesen and airport employees. “The accident occurred,” the lawsuit claims, “as a result of a combination of errors by the defendants who/which each comprised a component of a redundant system of safety that was designed to prevent such catastrophic occurrences.” While the NTSB’s probable cause said the pilots failed to “cross-check and verify that the airplane was on the correct runway before takeoff,” one Safety Board member cited inaccurate charts, missing notams, incomplete ATIS broadcasts, crew not complying with standard operating procedures, heading check not part of Comair procedures, understaffed tower, fatigued controller and lax tower safety culture as possible factors. Polehinke’s lawsuit claims that Jeppesen was negligent for not publishing a chart that accurately showed closed taxiways during construction. He also filed a lawsuit against runway-light manufacturer Avcon.